Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's Time to Move on...

It's about time I finally started using my own domain.

Please visit http://virginiamiddleton.ca/blog for ALL future updates.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Typing Meme

I realize this doesn't count or really qualify as an update, but since I haven't spammed this place with Memes of any sort, I figure posting one is forgivable. I'll try to include some content as well so that this may seem more like a blog post.

When I first saw my results, I thought, "so what?". After a quick search for "average typing speed", I found an article on Wikipedia (surprise, surprise, just about everything is there!).

According to Wikipedia's "Words per minute" article, "An average professional typist reaches 50 to 70 wpm, while some positions can require 80 to 95 (usually the minimum required for dispatch positions and other typing jobs), and some advanced typists work at speeds above 120." While I wouldn't consider myself to be a professional typist, I'm actually pleased with my typing speed.

There is also a brief discussion on the speed in which most people read. I will confess that I'm a pretty slow reader. It could be connected to my ADHD and my OCD behaviours and the NEED to read every word... but on average I'm really not a fast reader. That being said, I should read more because I room to improve.

The Wiki article isn't very long, so take a look at some of the interesting tidbits it has to offer. So how are your typing skills? Are you surprised, pleased, indifferent towards your results? Or are you so apathetic to a test like this that you just won't bother?

I haven't updated in over a month because life has been quite crazy. My husband and I were on a cruise at the beginning of March. We were attending the wedding of friends of ours and had a really great trip. I'll provide a better update with some photos and details later.

Last Wednesday, I went to the first of two concerts with Britney Spears. More on that later, but overall it was a fun night and entertaining to boot.

Alright, I'm off for now. There are other things to get done and I should take care of them before the day is wasted away.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Knitting Connections

While in St. John's, I wanted to visit a couple knitting related places.

On Monday, Stacey and I ventured over to Wool Trends. It's a local yarn shop that (unbeknownst to me) has been in existence for 11 years. I guess it's true that you don't notice something unless it's relevant to you.

From the outside, the store looks like a house. But it's much more than that... it's basically 2 1/2 floors of yarn, yarn and more yarn! There were some various types that were new to me and more than a few I'm not ready to use just yet (e.g. sock yarn). I did pick up some yarn to make a cute hat (when I start it I'll post something here). Otherwise, the visit was more for the fun of it and a base reference so that I know what's available for future interest.

The next stop was Nonia, which is located downtown on Water Street.

Side note: That's Stacey in the photo (I was busy taking photos... that's usually the case these days).

I've heard that Nonia has some lovely things there and even yarn for sale... unfortunately, it seems that they're closed on Mondays!! Because we flew back to Toronto on Tuesday morning, and that it was obviously impossible to grab a Tardis and go back in time (Doctor Who reference), I was sh*t out of luck. This was both annoying and disappointing, but ah well, it's something I'll make sure to plan for when we return in June for Darleen and Mark's.

When living in St. John's, I had heard of Nonia, but again, it didn't really have an impact on me, nor did it seem like a significant place to visit. But now that I'm a knitter, it's caught my attention. It was my mother-in-law who lives in Barrie that suggested I visit Nonia during this recent visit.

It's interesting - since moving to Toronto, I've become more aware of smaller stores and boutiques in general. For anyone familiar with Queen West in Toronto, there are lots of shops around the Queen W and Spadina area. Unfortunately, there are more and more chains or "box stores" popping up. But the smaller stores that do remain are unique and some are fun to visit. Of course like anything, there are some places that are pretentious and snobby... but that's to be expected. In St. John's, the downtown area, there are shops that have been standing there for decades and owned by families for generations. It's true that some things are overpriced and more luxury purchases, but I think when we live in St. John's someday, it somewhere I'll want to visit more regularly, even if it's just to window shop and wander around the historic area.

So back to the knitting...

Last Wednesday, we were at the airport waiting to board our flight. Originally, we were suppose to fly out at 7:35 p.m. But because of fog in Toronto (oh the IRONY that it was fog IN Toronto stopping us from flying to Newfoundland...). So while I was at the airport and bored, I was working on a new dishcloth pattern I found online (photo below). After multiple flight delays, we finally flew out just after 11:30 p.m.

I'm still a little burnt out from all of my Christmas knitting, so dishcloths are an easy outlet for knitting some new patterns, but without taking on too big a project at this point. I do have plenty of yarn in my stash and I'll have to get cracking on some new things, but not until after the cruise we're going on in the first week of March (more details later).

Some may feel that dishcloths are simple and a waste of time, but I have friend and family who really enjoy them. And this latest pattern is something you really have to follow to the letter since there's actually a right and wrong side. So while waiting in the airport, I did end up frogging back a few rows.

It's difficult to see the pattern in this photo, but you'll be able to see it more once it's further along. It has a lot of seed stitch and that added texture should make it handy for scrubbing dishes and pots that frustratingly need more soaking.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Visiting Home

My husband and I arrived in St. John's on Thursday morning at 4:00 a.m. Our flight was technically suppose to arrive at 12:00 a.m... but ironically, there was a lot of fog in Toronto and very few flights were getting out. Luckily though, we endured just a delay and our flight wasn't cancelled.

We planned this trip months ago with the purpose of me organizing a bridal shower for my friend Darleen. She and her fiancé, Mark, are getting married this June. I'm their Matron of Honour and I want to help them prepare for their special day as much as I can despite living away from St. John's.

Tomorrow is Family Day in Ontario, and I'm happy to be in St. John's spending the day with my family here in St. John's. My parents are having a number of people from my mother's side of the family over to have a belated birthday celebration and to also celebrate my grandfather's birthday which is on Wednesday. Poppy will be 82 and we're really glad to be here to celebrate. We unfortunately missed the big party that was held for his 80th, but we were lucky to be in St. John's last July for Nanny's 80th.

The photo in this post was taken on Saturday while at my grandparents' for brunch. It's a real Newfoundland breakfast with Fish 'n Brewis, scrambled eggs, fried up ham, cheese and bacon toast and of course a piece of bread with some Newfoundland jam (marsh berry and bakeapple were the two types I had).

Whenever we come home for a visit, I really try to make sure I spend time with my grandparents, and great aunts. Not to sound terribly morbid, but none of them are getting any younger and someday I'll wish I had taken the time to see them more. But I also know that the opportunities I have now are appreciated so much more because I'm aware of how lucky I am.

What would a visit to St. John's be without "getting some weather"? When our plane touched down, the weather couldn't have been better (again, it was so ironic that fog in Toronto was stopping our flight from taking off!!). We've had snow a few times since that time, but it's just a normal thing this time of year. Even today prior to the shower, there was a lot of snow blowing, the roads became very slippery... but it didn't stop people from going out and tending to business as usual. In fact, we had a really good turn out this afternoon. I think approximately 38 people were invited and we had at least 28 in attendance.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about this trip home and lots of photos for Facebook and Flickr.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Camera May Have a Cold... or Worse...

I really enjoy taking photos. Since receiving my Canon SLR Rebel XTi last year for my birthday (my very awesome husband surprised me with it just before we left for a long weekend in Montreal to visit my cousin Megan), I've been very pleased with the unique shots I've been able to capture.

I'm a little frustrated right now because my camera seems to be glitchy and is corrupting files left, right and centre. I did contact Downtown Camera and chatted with someone about the situation. It was suggested that I reinstall the latest firmware upgrade. It seemed to improve things, but I'm a little weary because the corrupted files are still happening, but not as frequently.

There's a bit of a dead-lock situation as such right now too. If I have the camera sent away to be examined by Canon, I won't get it back in time for the cruise we're going on during the first week of March (long-time friends Jason and Heidi are getting married while we're in Grand Cayman!!). But I have concerns that it will be hard to detect when corruptions occurs (and losing some fantastic photos really bugs me).

So for now I think I'll just try to take multiple shots when provided with a good photo opportunity (going forward and until after the cruise). But once we return, if I'm still having file issues, then I really have no choice but to send the camera away and hope that there's something that can be done. At the end of the day, it could mean my camera is replaced... but I would be happy to have it simply repaired because I've shared some fantastic adventures with the camera and am not ready to call it quits just yet. :)

My camera is an extension of me when I'm using it. I'm protective over it too (almost like it's a child and I worry when people who are not experienced camera users like myself try to hold it or mess with it). When great photos happen, I'm proud of the work my camera and I do together. And I have no problem bragging about how I feel really in sync with it when a shot turns out even better than I anticipated.

I thoroughly enjoyed using my previous camera, the Kodak C360 (a simple 5 Meg point-and-shoot that's nicknamed "3-60"), and I still enjoy using it now and then for outdoor shots and of course for video. It too has served me well and I'll only trash it once it finally dies.
I still remember lining up outside Future Shop in St. John's for the annual Boxing Day Sale in 2005. It was a cold, cold morning where I crawled out of bed around 5:30 a.m., drove across the city, and then waited in line until the store opened at 7:00 a.m.. It was a completely new experience for me and I did it on my own and with stubborn determination (because really, whose body voluntarily gets up at 5:30 a.m. without out SOME protest). I know, I know, the whole "adventure" doesn't seem like that big a deal. But at the time it was for me and I was very proud of my success. I remember calling my parents while outside in the line up. They weren't overly responsive and mostly mumbled "yes, that's nice", but I was wired and too enthusiastic to care.

Last year (as in Boxing Day 2007, so perhaps some would classify that as two years ago), Matt and I went to the same Boxing Day Sale in St. John's with my parents. There were a few things on the list, but mainly my parents wanted a new laptop and also some kitchen appliances. So we each had an "assignment" and split up once the doors opened. We then met in the appliance department as it took longer to process that order (it made more sense for Matt to scout out the laptop and I hunted for headphones my aunt was hoping we could get for my uncle). It was a lot of fun and despite the early rise, we were full of energy. Once the purchases were taken care of, we then went on to celebrate at Tim Horton's by devouring some breakfast sandwiches and hot coffee.

It's interesting to see how this blog post progressed... I started telling you about my beloved camera that is seems to be ill, and I've managed to meander into a member from back home. It's normal for everyday routine-like actions to somehow trigger a memory or spark a reminder of my family or St. John's and Newfoundland in general.

As the song Saltwater Joys says, "Some go to where the buildings reach to meet the clouds Where warm and gentle people turn to swarmin', faceless crowds." That's how I feel (sadly) about Toronto on a semi-regular basis. But there are those rare occasions when you encounter someone who feels the same way as I do and is happy to exchange a smile or a passing friendly glance. It really helps this city feel less cold.
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Brilliant Offers and Opportunities Await You!

I forgot about this "draft" I started so many months ago.

I often receive some very creative and entertaining spam. It's amazing what spammers and scammers will say in hopes of luring someone into believing such fantastic "opportunities".

Enjoy! I'll comment after each one...

-----Original Message-----
From: breakdancer [mailto:gbreaker@rambler.ru]
Sent: June 20, 2008 7:21 AM
Subject: Ask

Hello I'm George (*removed*) from Georgia, I'm 19 years old.

I need some help but I prefer to help others in the world My passion is to be first person in the world who is most noble and kind person...

My dream is to became an actor, but unfortunately in my childhood I broke my nose and I need Operation what costs $1000 dollars and I'm interested can I get any kind of help from any organization in the world?

please give me some advice...

Also I'd like to work with you for example share your site link, also find people who can help you, so that to became your official member if it is possible of course and I don't want anything for this I'll do it for Kindness

In future I don't know how my life will go on? But I want to make one big worldwide charity fund...

Thanks beforehand God Bless you
From George

Well George, it sounds like you've had a really tough childhood. I'm confused though how a $1000 nose job can help you reach your goal of becoming the first person in the world who is most noble and kind...

I actually passed this on to some collegues who agreed that it sounded very far fetched and didn't make sense for the email to come into the specified inbox. It was concluded that George was hiding behind his alter ego "Breakdancer" and that only with the improvement of his nose's structure could he have enough confidence to be a most noble and kind person by breakdancing his way to stardom.

-----Original Message-----
From: johnson [mailto:betty@highlandmyst.com]
Sent: June 24, 2008 6:12 PM
Subject: Good day my dear friend,

Good day my dear friend,

I am contacting you based on trust because i believe that good people still exist on earth.

My name is mrs.Betty Johnson from Ivory Coast my husband is late and we have no child,I am very sick with serious[HEARTH CANCER] and recently my doctor told me that
i will not live upto more six monthS. Please my good friend I am not looking for anything else but for someone with the fear of GOD.My late husband left [usd
2.800.000]with a bank here in IVORY COAST, right now this money is still under the custody of this bank so i am looking for someone who will use this money to the glory
of GOD the way i am going to instruct in. Since my life is limited i have shosen to used this money to run charity to the glory of God.

Plaese for more information contact me/

Always pray for me.

Yours Faithfuly,
Mrs.Betty Johnson.

Dear Mrs. Johnson, I'm really sorry to hear about your [HEART CANCER] it's tragic to hear that your husband is "late" (read later in email - deceased...). I'm not sure if I quite have the fear of God in me that you're looking for. I'm sure your Ivory Coast bank account is trustworthy, but if you could instead ship a suitcase of small unmard bills instead, then we can talk about investment options.

Does anyone REALLY ever believe this stuff?

If I had an unlimited income, I would like to see how far something like one of these scenarios could go. I've heard of so many incidences where someone has tried to buy puppies from another country, only to have the them lose money and be left companionless.

Still, neither of these emails are nearly as disturbing as the "death threat" I supposedly received last year. ;P